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IYN Urges Tinibu To Ignore Detractors Calling For Scrapping Of PAP



IYN to Tinubu on scrapping of PAP

The Ijaw Youths Network has urged President Bola Tinubu to ignore distractive calls by self-styled stakeholders to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The IYN said that those calling for the scrapping of the PAP are uncomfortable with the story of peace and stability in the region, and are clearly not motivated by patriotism and genuine concern for the Niger Delta and indeed Nigeria.

The IYN, in a statement signed by its President, Frank Ebikabo, and the Secretary, Federal Ebiaridor, said that the call being championed by ethnic chauvinists was designed to distract the new leadership of the PAP  and does not deserve attention from serious minds.

The IYN was responding to comments made by one Frank Tietie, who claimed wildly on national television that there was corruption in the  PAP and that the agency had not achieved anything in spite of the money spent on it by the Federal Government.

The group condemned the claim by Mr Tietie that only one ethnic group was laying claim to the PAP, stressing that what the Niger Delta needs at this time is not the promotion of divisive ethnic sentiments and the use of same to attack a functional agency making impacts in the region but concerted efforts for development.

According to the IYN, the PAP has contributed immensely to the sustenance of prevailing peace in the oil-rich Niger Delta through its well thought-out programmes.

The group noted that it cannot be contested that several ex-agitators and people from impacted communities are excelling in various sectors of the economy after receiving training under the PAP.

The group noted further that several beneficiaries of the Programme are gainfully employed as air traffic controllers, flight instructors, aircraft maintenance engineers, pilots, underwater welding among others from the various states of the Niger Delta, adding that but for the PAP many of them would not have had the opportunity to acquire such high-level manpower training.

The IYN maintained that several others who were trained and empowered through the Programme are doing well in diverse trade areas such as fashion design, unisex salon, fish farming, baking and confectionary, rice production, hairdressing, cement and building materials and several others.

The group said, “While it is not our intention to bring the odious inter-ethnic wrangling in the Niger Delta to the fore at this point, we find it obligatory to condemn the reprehensible act of hiding under the toga of ethnicity to attack the PAP. What the Niger Delta and indeed the country needs at this point is unity and concerted efforts for development. As a region, we have suffered too much and cannot afford these antics that have held us down.

“We listened to the desperate call by one Mr Frank Tietie, a supposed Niger Delta activist who called for the scrapping of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Tietie told his interviewers that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has failed and must be discontinued, citing  corruption in the agency. Even more regrettable, was the fact that the supposed Niger Delta activist claimed only a set of ethnic nationality had laid claims to the Presidential Amnesty Office. This is untrue and misleading.

“He also said that the Federal Government had spent N500 billion on the Presidential Amnesty Programme with no results for the money. We find it difficult to believe that a true activist will lament that the Federal Government spent N500 billion on the PAP! The self-styled stakeholder forgot to mention what the Federal Government has spent on the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission, and why the two bodies should be scrapped for corruption if that is the standard for the survival of agencies.

“While we do not want to jump to accuse anybody of selective amnesia, we cannot forget in a hurry that, at the peak of the armed struggle before the proclamation of the Presidential Amnesty in 2009, those calling for the scrapping of the Programme tagged the ex-agitators and their Ijaw ethnic nationality as troublemakers. However, Nigerians from outside the region appreciated the fact that there was underdevelopment, pain, agony and frustration which triggered deep resentments in the oil-producing areas.”

Ebikabo and Ebiaridor stressed that the Federal Government did not declare selective, ethnic-based amnesty in the Niger Delta as shown by the facts.

The group stressed that it was plain mischief for anybody to attempt to mislead the country with the false narrative that the 30,000 ex-agitators listed under the Programme are there on the platform of ethnicity.

“Nigerians know that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not declare a selective amnesty for the ex-militants in the Niger Delta. The 30,000 ex-agitators captured under the programme are not enrolled because they speak a particular language. Mr. Tietie can ask his kinsman, General Lucky Aralile (retd.), who was the pioneer head of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

“Tietie might want to tell Nigerians, those whose communities were razed and whose children were killed during the days of heightened agitation for better standard of living in the Niger Delta. To us, the self-proclaimed activist is clever by half when he makes unfortunate inferences that only one set of people are laying claim to the Programme. We make bold to ask if the Federal Government excluded any indigene of the region who embraced the Presidential Amnesty.

“The IYN also finds it abhorrent when he claims that the Programme should be scrapped because the Federal Government has spent N500 billion on it without any results. There is a popular axiom in the Niger Delta that says that, “You ask questions when you don’t know”, the IYN added.

The group urged the present leadership of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to avoid being distracted but to be focused on the effective execution of the mandate to ensure the sustenance of peace and the creation of the ideal environment for economic growth and development in the region.

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